COVID-19 Story: A Way of Instilling Agriculture in People’s Hearts

An insight on COVID-19 by Raymark Gentugao

The most recent and still prevalent global pandemic we call COVID-19 has brought a real pause to the norms of every single student of UNO-Recoletos. I, for one, is a witness of how it changed my daily structures.

It feels unusual for a hectic working student to become a full-time-in-house lad. I honestly love it at first because I could have some rest from my busy life, but now I’m just worried about how things are and how it affects many other people. I believe it should not be just this way. Not, simply because I am an Agriculture student and I can do things.

One day, I saw a post on Facebook regarding some City officials who are distributing seed packs to the people to encourage them to plant at their own backyards. I knew that this would help people get away from unhealthy foods being distributed by putting up their own survival garden they can plant to, which would also provide them recreation during their homestay.

I shared that post in the hope of inspiring people too. Many have had reacted, but I felt it’s not going to make sense if it’s not going to happen somewhere and just become a mere example. And so I decided to contact a close friend of mine who’s always an active volunteer for humanitarian and environmental movements.

Just as I expected, their NGO called HILWAY has been soliciting donations for the help they are going to hand to affected people in Bacolod. I then asked if I can become part of the group and if I can look for sponsors for some seeds to be added to the goods they would share.

I seized the opportunity to place a platform to my advocacy which is to put agriculture into the hearts of many, and I believe that this is the right time where food resource is an utmost need of many people and so the work starts for me.

That moment after, I contacted through chat my UNO-Recoletos School of Agriculture advisers. They are Ms. Cecille Mercado, Mr. Armando Abaño, and Dr. Armigenia Benedicto. All of them responded happily and referred me to some people and offices. I patiently contacted all the referrals, and to make the long story short, I was able to secure donations from individuals and the City Agriculture Office of Bacolod.

The day came where I was finally able to receive all the seedling donations. My heart was filled with gratitude when I finally delivered it to the repacking stations after the long journey. I took many routes and jeepney rides to gather and deliver all the seedlings in different locations just in one day because of the community quarantine to be implemented the next day. It’s fulfilling to contribute.

To end this story, I must say that this pandemic has really made the world take some pause, but I know God has plans. Things frighten me, but the path I chose, which is to become an Agriculturist, motivates me to do things too. As a person whose job is to secure the food stability of the country, it’s up to me to act even with small ways I can.

Raymark Gentugao is an upcoming third year student of the School of Agriculture of UNO-Recoletos. Mark, as his friends call him, is a scholar of Recoletos Educational Assistance for Deserving Students (READS) in UNO-Recoletos.

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